Improving Pre-Graduate Teachers' Professional Knowledge, Practice and Commitment: Evaluating a school - university collaboration.

Year: 2007

Author: Harris, Joanne, Moran, Wendy, Long, Janette, Ryan, Sophie

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Abstract:
The NSW Institute of Teachers' Professional Teaching Standards provide a clear framework for the accreditation of all graduating teachers. The challenge for teacher education institutions is to structure their programs such that pre-graduate teachers have every opportunity to meet these standards.

The teaching and Learning Consortium (TLC), an initiative developed in partnership between an Australian university and local school systems, places immersion in a whole-school context at the heart of the pre-graduate teachers' professional experience. This paper reports on student teachers' and school and university staff perceptions of the learning outcomes of the TLC. These are evaluated in terms of how the program has impacted on the pre-graduate teachers' professional growth within the constructs of Professional Knowledge, Practice and Commitment.

The evaluation employed a mixed-method approach comprising surveys of 125 teacher education students and 40 school personnel, plus focus groups of key stakeholders. The study found that the TLC produced enhanced learning outcomes in terms of the pre-graduate teachers' knowledge of children and how they learn, and in their capacity to create environments to promote this learning. These findings have important implications for the shaping of initial teacher education programs.

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